UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF THE USA
CONSISTORY OFFICE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
His Eminence Metropolitan Antony Visits St. Nicholas Mission Parish in Dover, Delaware
On Sunday, November 23, 2014, His Eminence, Metropolitan Antony, Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and Ruling Hierarch of the Eastern Eparchy, made his third Archpastoral visitation as Ruling Hierarch and first Archpastoral visit as Metropolitan to St. Nicholas Ukrainian Orthodox Mission Parish in Dover, Delaware. Accompanying his Eminence were Subdeacon Ivan Chopko, Subdeacon Volodymyr Yavorsky, Subdeacon Volodymyr Sukanets and Seminarian Ruslan Rolnyj - all from our Saint Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Theological Seminary in South Bound Brook, New Jersey.
Standing with the youth of the Parish, Nicholas Biddle, greeted His Eminence first on their behalf. Presenting white roses, Nicholas thanked His Eminence for his presence and his prayers on this special occasion. Presenting His Eminence with the traditional tray of bread and salt, Mr. Edward Zabowski, Parish Treasurer, offered greetings on behalf of the Parish. He also thanked His Eminence for his presence and his prayers and assured him that we shall also always remember him in our prayers. Father Stephen then greeted and thanked his Eminence for his foresight and permission to allow St. Nicholas Mission Parish to be formed and accepted under his omophor. It is a Parish of many ethnicities which share their traditions and cultures knowing full well that it is their Orthodox Faith that binds them together. After six years, the Mission Parish is growing and looking for a larger and more permanent home to allow more space for its worshipping community. The Mission Parish believes that with his Eminence’s continued prayers, all of this will become a reality.
His Eminence preached on the Sunday Gospel message of the “Good Samaritan”. He spoke of our obligation to see Christ in all whom we meet. He told us that unfortunately our society does not place any value on helping others. But we as Orthodox Christians must take the words of the Lord seriously. We can no longer just seek to justify ourselves as the young man in the Gospel but must go the extra mile to be the people that the lord has called us to be. He reminded us that we are in his prayers and that he hopes that his next visit will be in our own space for worship.
Following the Liturgy, the Mission Parish family rose to the occasion to prepare a dinner for all who participated. As always, it was a great feast with desserts that went beyond all imagination. Special thanks are offered to all who helped in any way.
HISTORY OF OUR MISSION PARISH
For many years, people inquired why there was no Orthodox Parish in the state capitol of Dover, Delaware. A letter of inquiry was sent by Father Stephen Hutnick on behalf of the people of Dover, to the then, Archbishop Antony, President of the Consistory and Ruling Hierarch of the Eastern Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA. His Eminence responded that a meeting should be held to discuss the feasibility of such an endeavor.
After publishing ads in the local paper for three weeks, a meeting was held on Saturday, January 26th, 2008 at the home of Edward and Cheryl Zabowski to talk about the possibility of forming an Orthodox Mission Parish. The meeting began following Great Vespers and it was chaired by Very Rev. Stephen Hutnick with twelve people in attendance: Edward Zabowski, Cheryl Zabowski, Sylvia Holt, Frank Biddle, Sonja Biddle, Robert Perrine, Veronica Perrine, Norman Kristic, Vince Spelock, Dana Spelock, Ralph Vurgich, and Esther Belliveau.
During the meeting, Father Stephen spoke about the necessary commitment spiritually, financially and physically that was needed in order to make the Mission Parish a reality. Attendance at services is a requirement and a place of worship would need to be found. A Committee consisting of Father Stephen, Robert Perrine, Edward Zabowski, Norman Kristic and Sylvia Holt agreed to look at the Dover Century Club to rent for the Divine Services. Father Stephen stated that he would celebrate Divine Liturgy on one Sunday of the month and a Vesperal Liturgy would be celebrated on one Saturday of the month. After meeting there on Monday, January 27, 2008, the Dover Century Club has served as the home for our Mission Parish.
A letter dated February 12, 2008, was sent to His Eminence reporting to him the results of the meeting. It had been decided that a budget of at least $700.00 monthly would be needed to begin services in Dover. As per the directive of His Eminence, a Treasurer needed to be appointed. Robert Perrine volunteered for the position and he was unanimously accepted by the attendees. After prayer and contemplation, a motion was made and unanimously accepted to place the Mission Parish under the Patronage of Saint Nicholas of Myra.
The plans to form the Mission Parish were forwarded to His Eminence, Archbishop Antony and a petition was included that the new Mission Parish would be placed under his omophorion. A joyful letter of acceptance by His Eminence was received and an antimension with the relics of Saint Charalampus was entrusted to Father Stephen for the new community. The first Divine Liturgy was celebrated on Sunday. February 25, 2008. There were 30 people in attendance.
St. Nicholas Mission was blessed in its first year with a $500.00 monthly gift from our Church’s Mission Fund. After the first year, the Mission Parish continued to work very hard together in order to be financially responsible for its existence.
The Parish continues to grow from its 12 original members to a membership of 36 adults and 14 youth. We celebrate our Patronal Feastday as our Anniversary on the Sunday following December 19.
During the summer of 2008, a “Family Day” was celebrated at one of the parks in the Dover area. It was a great day of prayer and fun for everyone in attendance.
His Eminence, Archbishop Antony made his first Archpastoral visit on Sunday, December 22, 2008 to celebrate the Mission’s first patronal feastday. Although the day started with snow, there were 60 people in attendance, including some of the Parishioners from our sister parishes of Sts. Peter and Paul in Wilmington, DE and Holy Trinity in Whaleyville, MD. His Eminence spoke about what it meant to be an Orthodox Christian during his sermon and that we needed to stand up for our faith and be examples to the community and the world. After the Ambon prayer, His Eminence celebrated Lytia, blessing the loaves presented by the Parishioners for their health and salvation. He also celebrated Panakhyda (Memorial Service) for the deceased of the Parish members and blessed the zhyto (koliva) which was also distributed after the Liturgy.
A Lenten Banquet to honor Archbishop Antony’s first visit to the Parish was celebrated at the Betsy Ross Restaurant in Dover. His Eminence visited each and every one of the tables and met with all the people in attendance.
On December 19, 2010, His Eminence made his second visitation to the Mission Parish. This was in honor of the Mission Parish’s third anniversary. The Parishioners themselves made a Lenten Feast for all who participated. Everyone was impressed by the way the faithful were able to convert the hall from Church to Banquet Hall in fifteen minutes.
Services continue to be celebrated one Sunday and one Saturday every month at the Dover Century Club. Beginning in 2009, the Liturgy of Presanctified Gifts is celebrated every Thursday in the Great Fast and Vespers for Good Friday are celebrated at 3:00 in the afternoon with a procession with the Holy Shroud around the Green. Resurrection Matins are celebrated at 6:00 AM followed by the Paskal Divine Liturgy. Please check our Bulletin or scheduling page of the website for the times and dates of all of our services.
It is our hope and prayer that this Mission Parish under the patronage of Saint Nicholas of Myra will one day soon be considered a full Parish. If you would like to donate towards the success of our Mission, please write to us at: St. Nicholas Ukrainian Orthodox Mission, c/o 1406 Philadelphia Pike, Wilmington, DE 19809. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact Father Stephen at (302) 798-4455 or at his e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org